Led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Bill Brovold, Larval is a unique prog-rock ensemble that creates dark and foreboding music filled with power and a sense of experimentalism that harkens back to some of the greats of the early 70's. On Obedience, the bands fourth CD and first for Cuneiform, walls of guitars, violins, cellos, sax, harp, bass, drums, and occasional keyboards creates a sound that is as dark as bands like Present or Univers Zero, and enchanting as vintage Pink Floyd or King Crimson.
Tunes like "One Day I Just Kept on Walking" and the droning "Her Last Good Day" sound like leftovers from Pink Floyd's seminal album Ummagumma (perhaps sibling companions to the song "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"), as they feature haunting strings and driving percussion, punctuated by dark shards of metallic guitar from Brovold. Strings meets arrangements on the Starless and Bible Black era King Crimson influenced "When Bullets Meet Flesh", a song that does a great job of building an ominous presence. The violin work of Kurt Zimmerman is especially noteworthy here, recalling David Cross at his best. The real highlight though is the downright creepy "Something Terrible is About to Happen", which is probably the darkest tune you will ever hear, right up there alongside anything Goblin, Present, or Univers Zero ever recorded. This tune would make the perfect musical accompaniment to any great horror film, as the guitars and strings create ominous and dramatic sounds that just send chills up your spine.
Obedience most certainly is not for everyone, but it thrilled this reviewer in a big way. If you like music that is a challenge to listen to, and one that might help creep you out on a windy or stormy night, then bring along some Larval for a chilling good time.